April 21, 2013

Run Smooth

Which of these runners 'runs right'?
I know its a cliche, but lately I've been thinking and its worrying.

Every day that we use video playback in +Amphibian King Galway to provide a medium for helping people choose the running footwear best suited for them. The most common question is 'do I run right?'

Now how do you answer this?

Like footwear there are so many factors that are involved, and how do you decide what is 'running right'?

There's the school of thought, run barefoot, it will fix you and make you a better runner. I agree, yes and no.There are people who have fantastic barefoot running form, yet as soon as you put them in shoes they forget all of that and run stupid. 

By 'run stupid' I mean, they switch their brain off, they run and allow the shoe to insulate their foot and deaden all the nice feedback and kill off decent form. So yes, barefoot running is good for them. 

Then there's the majority of us who don't run sweetly, bit of a stomper and untidy barefoot form, in the main shoes are good for them, but also a bit of barefoot or minimal work to help remap muscles and improve form.

I've a couple of previous posts on this area of discussion: What's in a name?

The bit that worrys me and an area I would do research into if I had a these to do for college is what defines 'running right' ?

The common perception is that you should land on your mid to fore foot, allow the heel to drop, charging the calf muscles with that impact force, the muscles turn this impact force into elastic potential energy which as you body weight moves over the centre of gravity becomes kinetic energy levering you just as your foot locks into a rigid structure propelling you forwards.

All this to be done at 90 strides per minute.

The problem I have with this is there is no variability taken into account for height, weight, fitness, mechanical deficiences or anything that marks us out as individual.

In fact it reminds me of the 'one style fits all' coaching that we used to get swimming Total Immersion. 

I think running form should be considered more along the lines of Swim Smooth where rough categories are defined based on common characteristics in swimming style and instead of saying 'this is the way all of you must swim' they look at the individual characteristics of the styles and work with those.

What I mean is there is no point taking a 5 minute mile runner whose running form makes them look like they've been shot or something, doing loads of coaching to make them this graceful forefoot striker with perfect poise and balance who clocks 5:10 miles.

Is there?

Ideally you would look at this individual and work a couple of form tweaks to help them become more efficient so they can run 5 minute miles for longer or to help clock a 4:55 mile. 

Its not about making a beautiful runner out of someone, its about running beautifully and efficiently within your body's capabilities and recognising the difference. 

P.S. the 'ugly' runner on the right is Priscah Jeptoo who won +Virgin London Marathon today in 2:20:13 

No comments: